There was varying amounts of surprise, concern and outright silence when the Military Coup took place in Sudan on October 25th. But with most sudden changes of Government in Africa there are interesting substories.
By Scott Morgan Exclusively For Van Guard Global & Defence Unlimited
First is the timing. On September 21st there were reports of a coup attempt in Sudan. At least 40 officers, some of them “remnants of the former regime” were arrested during raids conducted at dawn. The term has been used to describe former officials of the Bashir regime that was ousted in a coup as well as members of the armoured corps of the Sudanese Army.
Barely a month later we actually see others successfully launch a coup that removed Prime Minister Hamdok from Power. Was the incident that took place on September 21st a planned dry run for the actual coup a month later? Was the October event designed to keep certain officers protected from prosecution?
One key fact is that in a couple of weeks the members of the military that were on the transitional council were supposed to turn over power to the civilian members of the council. One thought that has been presented by some analysts is that the Generals involved with the Supreme Council were reluctant to yield power.
Another train of thought suggests that this action was taken by the military to quell the demonstrations by the hardcore Islamists who want the Military to remain in power under a government that is similar to that of former President Bashir facing counterdemonstrators that support a civilian government and supported the ousted prime minister Hamdok. In the days before the coup the demonstrations had a feel of someone acting in the background providing support.
Another interesting coincidence is that the coup took place hours after US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman left Khartoum for talks with members of the Supreme Council. This was the second time in a matter of weeks that the Envoy was in Khartoum. The timing of the coup suggested that elements of the coup were already in motion during the visit. The ability to shield these movements from the Envoy was not only a masterstroke but also a necessity.
Some of the reactions from key stakeholders have been interesting. The responses from Egypt and the Gulf States have been muted to put it mildly. General Burhan the new leader has recalled diplomats from key postings such as Washington, London, Beijing and the EU. These Diplomats were critical of events as they played out on October 25th.
Two other situations need to be monitored.
One will be the status of the proposed Naval Base on the Red Sea that is supposed to be constructed. The Ministry of Mr. Hamdok was walking this proposal back. Will these plans be advanced now?
Secondly, what about relations with Israel? Establishing relations between Sudan and Israel was a key condition of removing Sudan from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list from the United States.
The events that transpired may confuse some outside analysts however they will appear to make sense inside Sudan. That shows that people may not understand Sudan as well as they think they do.
What will happen before the 2023 Elections will be concerning to some and frightening to others. But they should not be ignored.